Blood, saliva, mucus, sweat, sputum, and other biological fluids are often hindered in their ability to be used in point-of-care (POC) diagnostics because their assays require some form of off-site sample pre-preparation to effectively separate biomarkers from larger components such as cells. The rapid isolation, identification, and quantification of proteins and other small molecules circulating in the blood plasma from larger interfering molecules are therefore particularly important factors for optical blood diagnostic tests, in particular, when using optical approaches that incur spectroscopic interference from hemoglobin-rich red blood cells (RBCs). In this work, a sequential spiral polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic device for rapid (∼1 min) on-chip blood cell separation is presented. The chip utilizes Dean-force induced migration via two 5-loop Archimedean spirals in series. The chip was characterized in its ability to filter solutions containing fluorescent beads and silver nanoparticles and further using blood solutions doped with a fluorescent protein. Through these experiments, both cellular and small molecule behaviors in the chip were assessed. The results exhibit an average RBC separation efficiency of ∼99% at a rate of 5.2 × 106 cells per second while retaining 95% of plasma components. This chip is uniquely suited for integration within a larger point-of-care diagnostic system for the testing of blood plasma, and the use of multiple filtering spirals allows for the tuning of filtering steps, making this device and the underlying technique applicable for a wide range of separation applications.
Robinson M, Marks H, Hinsdale T, Maitland K, Coté G, “Rapid isolation of blood plasma using a cascaded inertial microfluidic device,” Biomicrofluidics, 11(2):024109, 2017.